MANILA, July 15, 2013—Lay coordinators of parishes under the Archdiocese of Manila gathered on Saturday to heed the church’s call for responsible stewardship by coming up with a feasible ecological plan to be implemented in their respective communities.
The group came up with activities to be conducted during the archdiocese’s celebration of the “Season of Creation” in September. The month-long celebration aims to implement programs that will raise the environmental consciousness of lay parishioners and motivate them to protect nature against physical degradation.
Fr. Benny Tuazon, spiritual director of the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry of Ecology, said the celebration was initiated as a response to the worsening exploitation of the environment.
“Environmental exploitation is becoming a normal thing, as if it does not constitute a mistake against the Divine who created everything,” he said.
He added that the way people take care of nature reflects their respect and reverence to God who created it, noting the environment as an inseparable entity from Him.
“By looking and relating with creation, we are actually doing it with God…We must strive to appreciate beauty and commit ourselves to its wholehearted offering,” he said.
PH has rich ecosystem
Fr. John Leydon, parish priest of Malate Catholic Church, said that the Philippines is blessed with a rich and diverse ecosystem as compared with other countries in the world.
However, he said the rich characteristic of the country’s flora and fauna is threatened by fragility as species greatly depend on their interrelationship with one another—the extinction of one affects the stability of all other species.
“The Philippines has a very fragile ecosystem. Even if it is rich, its land is shallow. But because of the interrelationship between species, its biodiversity gets successfully preserved. However, this dependency contributes to its fragile character,” Leydon said in the vernacular.
“We have to worship Christ as the creator of all things and give praise to everything He has done,” he said.
Leydon added that the role of God as creator of the world is becoming more trivial, making people forget the implications it bears and the responsibility it places upon their shoulders.
“Christians predominantly worship God as their savior. This is manifested in many Christian celebrations. But if we try to look closely, emphasis to the ecological implications of God as the creator of heaven and earth is very little as far as lay worship is concerned,” he said.
He noted that through the archdiocese’s program, they are hoping that people would be more grateful for the gift of creation and would be more active in protecting it against the harmful effects of industrialization.
Leydon said that effects of modernization have negatively affected the way people care for the environment, adding that an “ecological conversion” must be done to restore the original richness of God’s creation.
“We have to emphasize the need for conversion. There is something wrong with how we act here on Earth. This is a reflection of God as our creator and the reflection of the beauty of His creation. We must all open ourselves to ecological conversion,” he added.
Leydon described the degradation of the environment not just as an ecological problem, but as a spiritual crisis that must be remedied through going back to the roots of faith and spiritual teachings.
“We are all creatures that are given a vocation. We have to work together to serve and protect God’s creation,” he said.
“This is a spiritual crisis. Humans got lost in the way. We have to go back to Christ as the creator of everything,” he added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)